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Celia's death is worse than just racist (though it is racist). It is also
misogynist and, in the play, totally gratuitous. For her to die as a
missionary might well make sense within the terms of the play, but the
gruesome scene of an upside-down crucifixion over an ant hill does nothing
for the play and is a kind of low horror only matched by the "Love Song of
St. Sebastian."

And is there any historical evidence for African natives using crucifixion,
or is it just a sick imagination? (Serious question)
Nancy

On Sat, Nov 18, 2017 at 3:53 PM, Cox, Carrol <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> TWL is, I still think, a great and important poem. But any attempt
> whatever to defend the despicable racist views it embodies makes it
> impossible to grasp its greatness or importance. Many great poems embody
> despicable attitudes-- a glaring example is "An Irish Airman Foresees His
> death. That poem has to be seen through the lens provided by the last 10
> minutes or so ob All Quiet On The Western Front." The Airma  is a
> _Terrorist_, and the poem praises individual joy in death and destruction
> for the sake of death and destruction. No admirer of Yeats (and I am a
> strong admirer) should try to defend the a ttitudes the poem embodies.
>
> Anyone who defends or excuses Eliot's contempotible racism is slandering
> his poems, not praising them.
>
> Tom & Nancy have it right. Denial of their arguments is contemptible.
>
> Incidentally, Celias death in The Cocktail Party is also contemptibly
> racist.
>
> I am not criticizeing Eliot's poems. And I love "Irish Airman" -- but to
> praise the peoms we have to see them clearly, not through a broken lens of
> Eliot-Worship.
>
> Carrol
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
> Behalf Of Tom Gray
> Sent: Saturday, November 18, 2017 8:21 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: NY Times On Works of Unethical Artists
>
> In saying that TSE's antisemitism and class prejudice were typical of his
> time, I did not mean to minimize them.  Here in Canada, Pier 21 in Halifax
> Nova Scotia was the centre for European immigration  in the first half of
> the 20th century. A museum dedicated to this immigration has been set up
> there. Associated with the museum is a memorial with inscription reading
> "None is too many". This was the reply of a Canadian civil servant when
> asked what the acceptable level of Jewish immigration to Canada was. This
> was supported by the prime minister of the time and was official government
> policy.  Nice inoffensive polite typical Canadians held despicable
> prejudices. Typical antisemitism of that time was a very ugly thing and was
> something that nice respectable educated people professed.
>
>
>
>
>
> Two rapes are presented in “The Waste Land” – that of the typist and that
> of Philomel. The social contexts and implications of these rapes are
> strikingly different and to my mind betray a pernicious class prejudice.
> Philomel’s rape is presented in “A Game of Chess” in a privileged and
> educated context. It is presented as part of a long classical tradition in
> a painting in a rich opulent room. Her rape is presented as a horror that
> brings on savage revenge and the intervention of the gods. She is
> transformed to the nightingale
>
>
>
> The typist's rape in “The Fire Sermon is of quite another sort. It is a
> rape that is not resisted and only slightly understood
>
>
>
> She turns and looks a moment in the glass,
>
> Hardly aware of her departed lover;
>
> Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass:
>
> “Well now that’s done: and I’m glad it’s over.”
>
> When lovely woman stoops to folly and
>
> Paces about her room again, alone,
>
> She smoothes her hair with automatic hand,
>
> And puts a record on the gramophone.
>
>
>
> Rapes are presented as differing with social class. The rape of the
> Philomel in the wealthy educated context is a horror. The rape of the
> typist in the working-class environment is not. The class prejudice shown
> with the typist and the young man carbuncular manifests itself in a
> portrayal of these people having little self-awareness and no sense of
> reality beyond the immediate. The same class prejudice can be seen in “A
> Game of Chess”. The wealthy characters are shown immersed within a
> classical tradition full of allusion. The working-class are presented as
> the typist and her rapist as living only in the eternal immediate. I find
> it interesting to read “A Waste Land” and interpreting it it based on this
> subliminal prejudice which influenced it. The same contrast between
> tradition and the eternal immediate based on class can be seen in "A game
> of Chess" between the wealthy educated characters and the pub scene
>
>
>
> This class prejudice was typical of the educated elite of the day and not
> restricted to Eliot. Bill Bryson’s book “At Home:  A Short History of
> Private Life”,  contains quotations illustrating it. Edna Saint Vincent
> Millay wrote: ‘The only people I really hate are servants. They are not
> really human beings at all”. Virginia Woolf comes quite close to capturing
> Eliot’s portrayal in describing one servant as: “She is in a state of
> nature untrained and uneducated … so that one sees a mind wiggling
> undressed.” Eliot's class prejudice was typical. It is reflected in the
> "the Waste Land" and hinders a valid portrayal of working-class life. In
> that, it makes "The Waste Land", the less.
>
>
> On Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 12:47 PM, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>
>         Dear Tom,
>
>         Well, depending on what you mean by "typical," probably yes. But
> many artists and intellectuals did not hold anti-Semitic views or
> attitudes. The issue is not that some did but that it was clearly
> repudiated morally also.
>
>         In the US before the Civil War, it was "typical" of many
> ('serious") people--including many religious leaders and their churches--to
> support slavery. It was the abolitionists who were not "typical." So are we
> now to say it was really quite ok to believe a god made African people
> inferior and suited to slavery because that had been inculcated as a
> "typical" belief?
>
>         And does the suffering of those who were treated as inferior or
> disgusting or even illegal mean those who did not think through the wrong
> they perpetuated were to be given a pass.
>
>         Was it, for example, an excuse for the fact that after largely
> saving Britain in WWII with the Enigma machine Alan Turing was driven to
> his death because homophobia was "typical"? Or that Oscar Wilde was
> destroyed by that "typical" belief, even if he made a really great mistake
> in going to court.
>
>         Eliot had not the excuse of lacking knowledge, intelligence, or
> cultural experience. And given the constant insistence that he had Jewish
> friends and colleagues, he had every reason to know better regardless of
> common, "typical" attitudes.
>
>         As for class prejudice, was that ever excusable either? Is it now?
> Consider the brilliant exposés of its effect in Dickens even. And whatever
> Woolf may have also said or supported, it is Septimus, I think, who gets
> our sympathy even more than Mrs. Dalloway. And WWI literature is full of
> the recognition that it meant nothing in the trenches, and making ignorant,
> unprepared young elite men officers did not necessarily work out.
>
>         My point is that Eliot had all this context, as did others of his
> circle and class.
>         Best,
>         Nancy
>
>         On Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 12:20 PM, Tom Gray <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
>
>                  TSE's description of the typist and the young man
> carbuncular displays an extreme class prejudice bordering on contempt.
> Wouldn't this be typical of the attitudes of upper class English society in
> the early part of the 20th century just as his antisemitism is?
>
>                 On Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 11:17 AM, Nancy Gish <
> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>
>                         As one who agrees that Eliot's writing has
> anti-Semitic material (one only need read it), I think the way this is
> written is a problem. He says "T. S. Eliot out and out hated Jews." I have
> not seen evidence of such a total claim. It also makes the statement easy
> to reject.
>
>                         That is not, by the way, what Anthony Julius ever
> claimed either: he claimed that Eliot's writing included anti-Semitic
> material (which it does) and that it treated that as normal (which can be
> the effect). I wondered at the time how many of those who got outraged
> actually read the whole book--which I did.The response is always the same
> to any claim of bigotry: "He had Jewish friends and he supported Jewish
> writers.) That is also the case but not the point. It's the "a lot of my
> best friends are Black" and "I love women" and "I don't care who is gay but
> they shouldn't talk about it" response.
>
>                         I think most readers who love literature agree
> that horrible people wrote some of the best work. But one can separate a
> judgment of the work and a judgment of the artist and accept both.
>                         I think, for example, that some of Eliot's most
> disturbing images are so powerful because he knew what he was writing about
> in his own feelings.
>
>
>                         Nancy
>
>
>
>                         On Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 9:35 AM, [log in to unmask]
> <[log in to unmask] <mailto:0000001d2010e66f-
> [log in to unmask]> > wrote:
>
>
>                                 I know the author.  I'm not positive it is
> worth asking the basis for his short statement about Eliot.  Print and
> internet media are filled with unsupported broad and often incoherent
> declarations.  Witness Lord Donald's tweets.  I think this NYT entry is
> just identifying an issue, in a casual style that may be more accessible to
> readers.
>
>                                 More importantly, we have a new dog:
> Perceval.
>
>                                 Cheers...
>
>                                 Sent from my iPhone
>
>                                 On Nov 15, 2017, at 4:51 AM, Tom Gray <
> [log in to unmask] <mailto:0000004fc3adaa6e-
> [log in to unmask]> > wrote:
>
>
>
>                                         Opinion | He’s a Creep, but Wow,
> What an Artist! <https://www.nytimes.com/2017/
> 11/14/opinion/artists-assault-fans.html?ribbon-ad-idx=13&
> rref=opinion&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&
> contentCollection=Opinion&pgtype=article>
>
>
>                                         <https://www.nytimes.com/2017/
> 11/14/opinion/artists-assault-fans.html?ribbon-ad-idx=13&
> rref=opinion&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&
> contentCollection=Opinion&pgtype=article>
>          <https://s.yimg.com/nq/storm/assets/enhancrV2/23/logos/
> nytimes.png>
> Opinion | He’s a Creep, but Wow, What an Artist!
>
>
> Clyde Haberman
>
> Can we appreciate art even if it was created by someone who behaved
> deplorably, like Kevin Spacey or Dustin Hoff...
>
>
>                                         An opinion article from the New
> York Times that discusses the issue of how the artistic or intellectual
> work of people who violate ethical norms should be addressed. It derives
> from the recent sexual harassment revelations and puts them in some sort of
> historical context.  TSE's antisemitism is noted
>
>
>
>
>
>